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A wide part of Earth’s surface, 70%, to be more specific, is occupied by waters. The oceans are the environment where many geological processes occur, resulting the formation of various mineral resources, and also where most of the eroded and dissolved materials form the land surface are deposited. For this reason, vast quantities of materials representing natural resources can be found in the ocean waters, and the most common are salt, magnesium, titanium and diamonds, apart from the main resource, water. Most of the countries neighbouring seas exploit these deposits, and their economy and industries are based on this, due to the easy access and low costs of processing. In the UK, natural marine salt from Santander Salt is harvested through natural methods, used since antique times, and the most common is evaporation. The heat from the sun leads to water removal, and the process is made in a professional manner, using man-made lagoons and specialized modern devices.

Sodium chloride, commonly known as salt, is present in the sea waters in a concentration of about 3 percent, representing more than 80% of the total chemical agents dissolved in the water. The amount of salt that can be found in oceans is so huge, that it could be used hundreds or thousands of years to supply all human needs. Generally, there are three types of salt: evaporated salt, sea salt and rock salt, depending on the place of extraction and procession method. All these are obtained in different ways, using various specialized equipment, but the most productive and cost efficient method is evaporation: the water is eliminated, resulting the residual salts which are afterwards processed. Many countries use this method, because it is environment friendly and the results meet the expectations.

It uses brine extracted from the sea, and of course, requires further devices, machines and arrangements: lagoons or wells or boreholes, build under the ground. The material lays in a layer found at depths of about 400 metres and the brine is collected in the drilling field collection tank after flowing through a system of pipelines. The containers are connected and fitted with pipes which facilitate the extraction of the brine. Each pipe has its own role: the deepest leaches the salt solution, the second brings fresh water from above, and the third one carries nitrogen – used to stop the mixture between the salt solution and the fresh water. Afterwards, the brine moved to saltworks, where softening takes place, and then to evaporator plants, for the crystallisation process. This happens in the evaporator, where the average temperature reaches about 140°C, and the salt resulted looks like a paste, which is eventually dried at high speed in specialized centrifuges, to separate the water and the salt. The concentrated salt solution goes through a process similar to boiling in large containers made of metal. Due to the similarities between this process and that of preparing food, the salt obtained was also known during ancient times as “cooked” salt, a term still used in the German industry.

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